[thelist] HTML tables and Content Management Systems

Andy Budd andy at message.uk.com
Fri Feb 4 08:43:43 CST 2005

It's not uncommon for website editors to want to create a page 
containing some kind of data table. These tables are often output from 
word, or if you're lucky from Dreamweaver and then pasted into the CMS. 
However the markup is usually pretty rotten and there is little or no 
control over style.

A few CMS's use a wysiwyg system, often handled by applets or 
JavaScript. While this makes table creation in the CMS easier, it does 
little for design consistency or ease of use. Alternatively people can 
use markup systems like textile. However this is simply switching one 
markup system for another so is also not ideal.

The best solution to me seems to give editors the ability to create 
table "object". You'd specify the number of rows, cols and headings and 
it would create a new table or text file that you could populate with 
data. You could even do this automatically via a CSV output. Then you'd 
give the editors some mechanism of inserting these objects into the 
page, possibly via some kind of custom tag.

The requirement for editors to insert tables into their pages seems 
like a pretty common one so I wonder how other people have dealt with 
this and if anybody has managed to come up with an elegant solution.

Andy Budd


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